Pablo Held Milton Court Concert Hall: 20 November 2013

One of this year’s great disappointments was obtaining tickets for Sonny Rollins appearing as part of the London Jazz Festival at The Royal Albert Hall, only to have this great performer cancel due to ill health. However, I did manage to get in an unexpected visit to a LJF event courtesy of Richard, a work colleague (take a bow when you visit here).

I went to see The Pablo Held Trio at a brand new concert venue in the heart of the city. The venue was so new that it was their first jazz performance…ever!

How did it go?

Can I compare a carrot with a kohlrabi? No!

Can I write knowledgeably and with ease about this strand of jazz? No!

Do I want to dismiss something that I don’t particularly get with spite and sarcasm? No!

Is this a reaction to the Leonard Feather school of jazz criticism? Yes!

So I won’t be dismissing music that I don’t feel particularly warm about.

Warmth? Perhaps that’s a useful metaphor. This felt like music to play in the Winter, albeit with the external elements viewed through double glazing from a centrally heated home. Perhaps somewhere with snow-capped mountains in sight.

After the warmth of Kenny Dorham’s Una Mas, this was a very different kind of creature.

It was abstract, though easy on the ear. Music for contemplation; music to drink spring water and detoxify to; not music for the heart or feet, but for the head on the right sort of day when all is tranquil and the spirit doesn’t need raising.

Have a listen courtesy of jazzaheadtradefair from three years ago (though what I perceived tonight was much the same).

Did I enjoy it? Well it’s not really for me, though I could appreciate that these were three very accomplished musicians who don’t really fit here at downwithit.

As for the venue, The Milton Court Concert Hall has great acoustics but it is as far from a sweaty club as I can imagine. I think I may know how Jimmy Smith might have reacted to it.

Live rating: I’ve promised to rate all live performances I comment on here. Sorry lads- you were good at what you did. Sadly, not my sort of stuff, so 3/10, though there were those who hooted approvingly at the end of the second set.

The band: Pablo Held (piano); Robert Landfermann (bass); Jonas Burgwinkel (drums)

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